The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, and Andrew McAfee

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Book Review: The Second Machine Age recognize the best approaches for survival

In the Second Machine Age, the authors argue, there is a real threat that the United States will be overtaken by emerging countries as a leading provider of goods and services. In the U.S., this trend is seen as a result of an increase in income disparity among people who have access to advanced means of communication such as the internet and high-speed computers. There is also a decline in the quality of life of people who live in the most prosperous states of the country. 

In other words, the Second Machine Age does not only focus on the technological developments that have occurred. It also discusses the political and social factors that have contributed to this trend. It explains why some countries have managed to flourish despite the introduction of digital technology while other countries have failed to benefit from this new development. In other words, these scholars argue that the emergence of digital technologies in the U.S. has affected the overall performance of the economy and the way people live.

The second part of the book titled The Politics of Advanced Technologies is dedicated to the social and political conditions that are causing the stagnation of the American economy in the face of the growth of emerging economies in China and India. In fact, it goes further to argue that globalization has also been a contributor to the stagnation, rather than the causes of it. These scholars point out that the international market has not been able to absorb the surplus labor that is provided by the technological advancement in developed countries. Thus, they argue that labor is now being extracted from developed countries and given to developing countries.


In The Machine Age MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee–two pioneers in the forefront of the area –show that the are forces pushing the reinvention of our own lives and our market. Since the complete effects of digital technology is sensed, we’ll realize immense bounty in the shape of dazzling personal engineering, innovative infrastructure, and also near-boundless accessibility to the items which enrich our own lives.

Amid this bounty there are also wrenching shifts. Professions of all types –from attorneys to truck drivers–will probably be eternally upended. Businesses will be made to change or perish. Recent economic indicators reveal that change: fewer people are functioning, and salaries are falling as profits and productivity soar.

Founded on years of study and up-to-the-minute tendencies. Brynjolfsson and McAfee recognize the best approaches for survival. And extend a fresh route to wealth. These include revamping schooling. So that it prepares people for another market. Rather than the previous one. Designing new teamwork. That set brute processing power at once with human creativity. And adopting policies that make sense at a complete altered landscape.

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

Technology and Human History

What’s the most powerful development ever? At the moment, you live through another, corresponding revolution. The Industrial Revolution altered how individuals used their own bodies to do physical labor. This present revolution is altering how folks use their heads to execute conceptual labor.

That is “a period of astonishing advancement with digital technology,” improvements that leap ahead using a multiplier effect which creates even greater shifts. Digital technology changes the world for the better. Particularly in the wide category of ingestion — absorbing products, artwork, entertainment, or thoughts — digital technology offers unprecedented options. And, although the impact of electronic technologies will be tremendously beneficial, folks face “thorny challenges.”

Mass Digitalization

Not too long ago, images and writing existed only in bodily form. Nowadays, artists and writers produce new functions electronically while technicians digitalize older functions. Sending digital copies across the world is really affordable, they are usually free — unlike novels, periodicals or letters. Ideas and natural tendencies spread readily as the price of access to data drops. Kids can tap into shops of information accessible only to specialist scholars a couple of decades past. Scholars can scrutinize digitized older functions for systems, utilizing new tools to mine the past for new understanding.

“Machines that may complete cognitive activities are — even more significant than machines which may reach physical ones”

Innovation is essential for a developing market, but economists disagree regarding whether the invention is climbing or falling. Thinkers such as Bob Gordon and Tyler Cowen assert the simple creations have been discovered and today’s innovation continues to be peripheral They see a basic difference between the electronic revolution and discoveries” like steam power and electricity. ” Some argue that information technology eliminates this pervading power.

The Second Machine Age and the Economy

Adapting to new technologies is challenging. For instance, when power was fresh, people implemented it as a simple substitution: They eliminated steam engines and placed electric motors in their own place. Nevertheless, they didn’t alter the plan of factory designs. This made no sense because steam motors required.

Particular arrangement of machines round “one enormous motor,” while powering known for placing bigger, electrical motors at each machine. Having a steam engine, the gear that required the most electricity needed to be nearest to the motor.

Policy Changes

How should government and society coverage accommodate? Education has to change to match modern needs, moving from the industrial era perfect of standardization toward methods that promote imagination, interest, and adaptation. Encourage experimentation, utilize technology where helpful, and alter how schools provide instruction. School administrators should provide more schooling alternatives, more choices for pursuits after course, more school days, and “longer school years” to increase salaries to the top teachers and hold educators accountable. Faculties must shift from the present emphasis on social interaction toward intellectual work.

Brief Quotes

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” —Elbert Hubbard”

“Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life, it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.” —Freeman Dyson” 

“Work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.” ― Erik Brynjolfsson

“To invent something is to find it in what previously exists.” ― Erik Brynjolfsson

“But they are useless. They can only give you answers.” —Pablo Picasso, on computers” ― Erik Brynjolfsson


  • Technological improvements have engendered the best changes in human history.
  • Digital technology creations vary on par with the Industrial Revolution.
  • The majority of the changes being wrought by electronic technologies have yet to emerge.
  • Digital technology fuels general-purpose invention, and thus forcing different inventions and changing how individuals do everything.
  • Moore’s Law is still in effect. — It states that calculating speed doubles every 18 to 24 months, making exponential computing advancement.
  • GDP doesn’t account for electronic action, so analysts require a new metric that does.
  • Digital technology increases overall wealth when fomenting earnings inequality.
  • In the industrial market, income spread along a bell curve. In the digital market, income distribution follows a ” power curve” representing growing inequality.
  • At a dramatic discontinuity, productivity and wages decoupled at the time of technology.
  • To accommodate such changes, societies must finance and upgrade education, adopt computing, and encourage innovation and technology.

Similar Books

  1. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson
  2. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock,  Dan Gardner
  3. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  4. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
  5. AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee

Why We Recommend The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson, and Andrew McAfee

Founded on years of study and up-to-the-minute tendencies, Brynjolfsson and McAfee recognize the best approaches for survival and extend a fresh route to wealth. These include revamping schooling so that it prepares individuals for another market rather than the previous one, designing new collaborations that set brute processing power together with human creativity and adopting policies that make sense at a radically altered landscape.

A fundamentally optimistic novel, The Second Machine Age changes the way we think about topics of technological, social, and economic advancement.

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